Legality of Tesla stores under fire in Oregon, elsewhere

The Tesla retail experience is aiming to mimic Apple's, but is it breaking the law?

The Tesla retail experience is aiming to mimic Apple's, but is it breaking the law? 

Oregon's automobile dealers association is among those in the country asking questions about the legality of the slick new Tesla Motors retail stores including the one that opened at Washington Square in July.

According to Automotive News, dealer associations in a handful of states, and state regulators in at least one case, say Tesla's stores violate state franchise laws that prohibit factory ownership of dealerships.

Tesla, a popular Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric car maker, now operates 17 stores in 10 states and the District of Columbia, most in shopping malls. Another six are scheduled to open this fall.

Tesla is trying to recreate the experience of the Apple retail stores and counts former Apple executive George Blankenship among its executive ranks.

Automotive News reports that the Oregon Automobile Dealers Assocation informally asked the Oregon Department of Transportation's Driver and Motor Vehicles Services Division to review the validity of the dealer license granted for Tesla's Portland store.

Greg Remensperger, executive vice president of the Oregon Automobile Dealers Association, told the trade publication that the association is exploring options to further challenge Tesla's store.

According to the San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal, Tesla's rebuttal is that it's done nothing wrong. Company officials say Tesla is complying with all state laws because consumers can't actually buy a car at many Tesla outlets. Instead, the staff will give you information and direct you to the Tesla website where you can order one and have it shipped to your house.

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